Unit 13, 47 Grange Rd, Cheltenham, Melbourne, Victoria 3192

Developing Core Strength In Youth Athletes for Performance and Injury Prevention

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Developing Core Strength In Youth Athletes for Performance and Injury Prevention

A strong core is an essential component to every athlete's physical performance. It is responsible for generating power, producing rotational force and maintaining stability through the trunk and dynamic movements.

Think of the core as a force transmitter. It helps for force to travel up and down the body. This is an imperative idea to know as it allows us to understand that the core is important to be able to stabilise in certain positions, but must move into various positions based on the context of the movement.

A weak core, and the inability to control the rib cage and pelvis will limit running efficiency and the amount of force that can be produced during any reaching or rotational movements. Additionally, focusing on building a strong core can help young athletes utilise the muscles which stabilise the spine and pelvis, eliminating any weak areas and help prevent injuries. Core strength is important to all athletes; however it is particularly important in any hitting sports such as tennis, cricket, baseball, hockey and swimming.

For your young athlete to be best prepared for their sports they must be proficient in both dynamic core control as well as stabilising and maintaining positions/resisting movement. Whenever you are swinging a bat, spiking a volleyball, kicking a footy or reaching in a swimming stroke, you are intending to shift your body weight side to side in a smooth manner. If the core cannot remain under control with the ribs down, the movement then becomes inefficient and expose your athlete to a higher chance of injury. By using movements such as rotational throws with medicine balls and cables, you encourage your athlete to rotate the pelvis over the femur which will aid in generating force from the ground and up into the upper extremities.

Incorporating movements which require your athlete to resist movement are a great way to introduce them to core movements as well as aid in preventing injuries. If the core can remain strong and in control from the top of the spine down to the glutes, a lot of lower back and fatigue causing injuries can be better managed. Additionally, many knee, ankle and other lower limb injuries occur as a result of the inability to properly stabilise at the hips using the glutes. This results in the torso and upper body continuing their movements uncontrolled causing pain in the lower body. Exercises such as pallof presses and suitcase carries, are great examples of movements which require the athlete to resist rotation and bending at the trunk, utilising the entire core structure to achieve this.

Common core movements we use at Inner Athlete include:

  • Dead bugs
  • Bird dogs
  • Pallof presses
  • Cable woodchops
  • Medicine ball throws and rotational throws
  • Half kneeling pressing/rowing
  • Farmers and suitcase carries
  • Planks/side planks
  • Should taps and
  • Dumbbell slides etc

To find out how to improve your young athlete's performance and minimise their risk of injury, contact us today!

Matt Hucul
Junior Strength Coach
Inner Athlete (AUS)


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